Top Mobile Tech Trends to Watch out for in 2021
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With Earth completing its trip around the sun, a vaccine approved for use by the FDA, and a rebound in the planning, it’s high time we put behind us the ‘Shakespearean’ tragedy that 2020 turned out to be, and plan ahead.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger after all, right?
In a recap…
…2020’s uncertainty forced people indoors for most of the year catalyzing massive adoption of certain technologies, specifically mobile technology. We have relied more on mobile apps this year than we ever have. From grocery shopping to shopping for clothes, from ordering medicine or video-conferencing with the doctor to ordering food, our mobile devices became our digital clinics, pharmacies, restaurants, grocery shops, our favorite shopping hubs, and more.
In the aftermath…
…of the pandemic, mobile technology will continue to take its place in the smallest aspects of our lives.
2020 opened up with the worldwide deployment of 5G accelerating digital transformation and growth of other technologies such as AR/VR, IoT, and AI and ML. And as we close out 2020 and look ahead to 2021 and beyond, we see not just growth in these areas, but increased use cases and trends surrounding them.
Here’s a bird-eye-view of some of the hottest technological trends expected in 2021 for businessmen to keep an eye out for.
1. More Businesses will Adopt Cloud-based Mobile Apps
We live in a digitized world where mobile apps are becoming more sophisticated day by day. Industry experts are of the view that cloud-based solutions like Google Drive, Slack, Dropbox, and Amazon Cloud Player will be a hit in 2021. In fact, such apps are widely popular with businessmen who think cloud-first and are a major component of their IT strategy.
Meanwhile, in 2020, the cloud services market revenue experienced a 17% growth with a total of $266.4 billion, compared to $227.8 billion in 2019. (source: gartner)”
As cloud-based tech becomes, even more, a standard across homes and companies in 2021, we must expect more cloud-based apps entailing lower development costs, yet improved performance-boosting mobile app user experience in 2021.
Cloud-based apps are typically designed and then re-modeled to run on a cloud operating system. Here are a few more apps that are leveraging the cloud-based technology,
2. AR & VR will get Hotter
Augmented and virtual reality are the technological trends that are here to stay forever, even if they don’t make the news headline which is unlikely. So, let’s start with some kickass statistics for 2021.
AR and VR headset sales will rise to $9.7 billion in 2021. (source: linchpinseo)
To be fair, 2020 was a growth year for augmented reality. The year kicked off with 5G deployments that set the stage for further developments in AR. Opening a myriad of opportunities for AR use cases with improved speed and latency. These extraordinary circumstances have incentivized market leaders such as Apple, Google, and Unity to invest heavily in AR, with the intention of empowering the AR developers around the world.
Apple’s iPhone Pro 12 and iPad Pro 2020 – for instance – with miniature LiDAR technology on the rear camera is just an appetizer before the main course. Truth is AR is about to get hotter and more real. Unity’s MARS will now allow AR developers to create experiences that will interact with their surroundings by default. Similarly, Google released a hot update too. With this new update, you no longer need hardware to make use of depth-sensing tools.
This year’s AR add-ons include promising new capabilities such as location-based anchors (based on GPS coordinates), enhanced computer vision and realism, and the ability of AR to interact with the real world—just to name a few.
And yes, some of the best AR glasses from key players including Facebook and Oppo will roll out in 2021 as well.
As far as the VR adoption goes, gaming and entertainment and science and medical departments, in particular, have been early adopters. But VR has numerous interesting use cases beyond those fields – in manufacturing for instance.
In fact, many educational institutions are also starting to discover the value of VR. Here’s an interesting use case, Westminster University has designed a virtual space for criminal law students, enabling students to browse for clues to build a murder case. Rather than just examining the testimony of witnesses, they can walk around the built environment to determine if anyone may have witnessed the crime.
3. Mobile Wallets and M-commerce will March On
Contactless trends are booming right now all over the world and they will continue to remain one of the top mobile tech trends in 2021, as the basic definition of “touch” starts to pick up a bad reputation. The number of mobile wallet users jumped in 2020. Mobile wallets became a staple form of payment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Various industries are now using this technology to enhance their consumer and business experiences. Google Pay and Apple Pay are the most commonly used mobile wallets and payment gateways in the world. The aim could be to enhance precision and protection in 2021.
Mobile wallet tech is progressing and is likely to disrupt the field of technology in 2021.
How could it not?
With the cash and checks nearing their predicted demise, contactless payments will gain more than just a foothold. At present, sixteen percent of the consumers are already using cash or checks less often, and in millennials this percentage doubles. This purchasing of items, ordering, and making payments via wallets for a contactless delivery is also giving a rise to ‘m-commerce’.
M-commerce – a subcategory of e-commerce – is already more ‘in’ as-in is trending. At present, nearly three in 10 Gen Zers and millennials are ordering their food via mobile or online more often during the pandemic. (source: fisglobal)
Ordering ahead, using delivery services, or picking curbside is fast becoming de rigueur, driven mostly by millennials or Gen Z’s tech-savviness and malleability to navigate change.
Here are certain industries and services m-commerce is already impacting and helping progress:
- Mobile money transfers
- Mobile marketing, coupons, and loyalty cards
- Mobile banking
- Digital content purchases and delivery
- Contactless payments and in-app payments
- Electronic tickets and boarding pass
- Location-based services
Which ones have you regularly tried?
4. 5G Wireless Technology will Fuel IoT and Other Technologies
Predictions have it that there will be around 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions worldwide, by 2024.
The beauty of 5G wireless technology is that all the other trends will progress and advance with this one at their disposal and foundation. With increased connectivity, glory be to 5G and faster WiFi and improvements IoT looks set to deepen its roots in our lives and industries.
Research shows there will be 35 billion smart devices online by 2021, and that number will rise to 75 billion by 2025. source: forbes)
IoT-infused mobile apps at present, for instance, let users connect their smartphones with various devices i.e smartwatches and other wearables like an IrisVision headset.
While this ever-increasing number of devices creates a plethora of opportunities for the internet of things (IoT), let’s not be oblivious to the fact that IoT has yet to mature. And while – Alexa, Nest, and Ring, and other smart home devices – it is still maturing, and in some cases, it is far from private or secure. With so many devices, IT managers are struggling to understand how many devices are actually connected to their networks leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Not to mention, when are devices active and collecting data, and when are they not?
The new year will be about making it more secure and increasing consumer confidence in the technology. Industry leaders will be proactively working to make their technology more private and secure.
Amazon, for one, has introduced a number of new features in the most latest Alexa Live event, facilitating users to take authority of data and privacy configurations more easily and seamlessly.
Apple has also initiated a huge privacy campaign in recent years. Industry experts anticipate this to be a trend within big tech, as they strive to increase customer trust in apps and experience, taking data protection and privacy into account.
5. AI and Chatbots will Remain One of the Biggest Trends
Artificial intelligence is one of the technologies that won’t expire or become obsolete. It is anticipated to be one of the top mobile tech trends in 2021. It’s the future that is happening right now as AI and ML continue to transform the world, help make our everyday lives more seamless, and permeates new use cases.
WIPO points out that many AI-related technologies have to use cases across a multitude of industries, the fact highlighted by a good number of patents in AI that in multiple industries.
Gartner predicts, by 2021 nearly 50% of businesses will preferably start spending on AI and chatbot technology development than mobile app development. Another research has shown that in 2021, chatbots with emotional intelligence would play a pivotal role in the artificial intelligence sector to upend the key areas. Businesses will build emotional intelligence-based chatbots to improve soft skills that will shape the way consumers reach out or interact with them.
This AI-based workflow will garner them the spotlight they require in a saturated market. AI will likely help with workplace disruption for both location-based, physical, or human-touch workers and knowledge workers working from home.
At present, Microsoft, with the most number of patents, is leading the AI-related patent race. The tech giant has almost 18,300 AI-based patents in its portfolio. Microsoft is followed by IBM, Samsung, Qualcomm, and Google.
The game, however, is no longer just about artificial intelligence. It’s about ethical AI and implementing the use of ethical AI in 2021. According to Forrester, the coming decade will mandate CIOs to both adapt to digital acceleration and to proactively handle instability, all through the ethical use of Artificial Intelligence.
Yes, things are fast changing – consumers and employees with values now expect businesses to leverage AI in a responsible fashion. Even in the coming years, companies will actively choose to do business with partners that engage in data ethics and follow data management policies that fit both their own principles as the values of their consumers.
The new year will be all about improving on the technologies the tech-gods have been working on for decades and creating a safer and secure experience for the consumers.
New Year, New Journey
The predictions mentioned in the article are based on the opinions of industry experts who believe that these technologies will only grow forward and upend and continue to revolutionize the world. These trending techs have gone through a major transformation in the last few years making the technologies we once gushed over in the TV series like Knight Rider, Black Mirror, or films like Minority Report a reality we can experience.
And as we prepare to embark on a new journey let’s be hopeful for all the best that is yet to come in technology. And while it may seem a tad strange – having had the most uncertain year – to come up with predictions for the next year, let’s be wary of the fact that technology made a year of coronavirus pandemic and lockdown a lot easier in comparison to the ways previous generations had to tackle pandemics.
With the vaccine approved by FDA for usage, let’s end the year in high spirits and hope for the best. May 2021 be a ‘Happy New Year!’.